Meaningful school leadership from the perspective of African American parents
This study explored leadership as defined and conceptualized by African American parents whose children were attending public school in This City where the study took place. This group was targeted because their voices are not dominant in the leadership literature and their children lag behind academically. Three questions guided the study: How do the lived experiences of African American parents shape their perceptions of leadership? In what ways do African American parents consider notions of race and racism as it relates to leadership, in particular school leadership? What themes emerge in African American parents' descriptions of the leadership that improves the academic achievement for their children?
The study used qualitative methodology relying on individual in-depth and open-ended interviews to elicit personal narratives of their experiences of school leadership. The parents' individual experiences were described and their collective experiences were derived from thematic analyses. A concept map was constructed to depict the common elements of the African American parents' descriptions of leadership. Based on what African American parents believe is best for their children, their experiences and Critical Race Theory, the term meaningful leadership evolved. Themes from the individual parents' narratives were: (a) dismantling the status quo, (b) diversity, (c) vision, (d) engaging lessons, (e) communication and team building, (f) policy, (g) attitude towards good leaders, (h) attitudes toward children, (i) attitude of teaching and (j) attitude toward excellence. In the end, the parents' experiences called for meaningful leadership that would close the achievement gap and dismantle the status quo in the system.
0340: Educational sociology
0514: School administration